The speaker for the March meeting of the UNA Harrogate branch was Andy Walker of Sure Installation. He presented via Skype, because at the time he was on a remote island involved in the establishment of a low impact community. His theme and challenge was “How to scale up retrofitted insolation to cut energy use and mitigate the climate crisis.”
The seriousness of the climate change challenge is gradually becoming more prominent with the rise of organisations like Extinction Rebellion and the recent Youth Strike For Climate, when school pupils walked out of the classroom to protest against inaction.
Given that energy production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and that home heating is a major element of energy use, making homes warmer by cutting heat loss has a benefit for all. As an added bonus, he pointed out that using oil-based insulation material will actually sequester the carbon in that oil.
Andy is exploring ways in which to make installation a community project. He complains that traditional builders are extremely wasteful with insulation materials and a lot of work could be done by using offcuts discarded on traditional construction sites.
He foresees the creation of multi-skilled apprenticeships, because at the moment there is no specific qualification for those involved in insulation. He would like to find a community building which could be insulated as a flagship project in the hope that this would demonstrate to people what could be done and encourage others to follow suit. There may be town centre regeneration funds to help with this.
His big frustration has been the enthusiasm that people have had for his ideas, but nobody has actually followed up. Andy is working with York Community Energy to train volunteers to understand how an installation survey takes place. The plan is to prepare a video so that others can see exactly how he carries out the process.